Illinois Ancestors: Book chronicles free, enslaved blacks, slaveholders in Baltimore

Illinois Ancestors: Book chronicles free, enslaved blacks, slaveholders in Baltimore

Noreen J. Goodson and Donna Tyler Hollie have published a list of free and enslaved blacks and slaveholders so researchers can now determine whether their ancestors were "free or enslaved, and if enslaved, to whom they 'belonged.'"

The data has been taken from tax assessors' records in 1813 (wards 1 through 8) and 1818 (wards 1 through 11) in Baltimore. It is presented in chart format with headings labeled: name, race/status/ residence (address), real property (value), occupation, enslaved property (name, age, value) and comments.

The book also includes ward maps, a glossary, a list of streets where blacks owned property, surnames that became street names, an every-name index and a list of books for further reading as well as brief profiles of several black proprietors. It should be noted that the page of maps is not very discernable, but these maps have been copied from a Baltimore City Archives website, found at, which includes colorful illustrations that are very detailed.

"Through The Tax Assessor's Eyes: Enslaved People, Free Blacks and Slaveholders in Early 19th Century Baltimore" is a 264-page, softcover, 8 -by-11 book, ISBN 978-0-8063-5858-1, that can be ordered from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore, MD 21211 as item number CF8210

Pioneers celebrated in 2018

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2018, the Illinois State Genealogical Society will be sharing the names of people who settled in Illinois before 1818. Illinois' earliest pioneer in this database is Joseph Aubuchon, who settled in Randolph County in 1712.

The data will be taken from the society's popular Prairie Pioneers Project, which already has 3,900 pioneers in its database. The three categories of certificates that are issued to descendants of these pioneers are: (1) prior to 1818; (2) 1819-1950; and (3) 1851-1880. Applicants must provide documentation proving the pioneer's date of residency in Illinois along with proof of the applicant's lineage to the pioneer.

Information on the project is available on the ISGS website at A search of the Prairie Pioneers database can be made at Each pioneer is listed with a certificate number, county of residence and year.

ISGS has also published two volumes of Prairie Pioneers, which include the vital statistics submitted by the applicants along with the line of descent. Information on these publications is also available on the ISGS website.

Anyone whose ancestor lived in Illinois prior to 1818 through 1880 is encouraged to apply for a Prairie Pioneer Certificate to honor that settler.

Online death indexes updated

Joe Beine has a most helpful website, "Online Indexes for Death Records, Cemeteries and Obituaries (USA)," and from time to time posts updates to this vast database.

His Genealogy Roots Blog recently posted such an update at This webpage also provides a link to the database itself.

It should be noted that at the end of the above website are links to Beine's other helpful websites: Obituaries Guide; Genealogy Records & Resources; and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). For example, the SSDI page (accessed directly at provides basic information about that resource as well as links to various places that offer a search. (Note the information on the Numident Files — free to search at the National Archives.)

Queries, questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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